Friday, March 21, 2014
A New Englander in the South
I actually do have a little experience with the south and southerners in general and I have always been fond of both. I attended basic training with the Army back in 1990 at Ft. Dix, NJ and it seemed like 90% of the people in my company were from the south. They talked different, they acted different, they were just...different. The following summer I attended my job skill school for the Army at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. We were allowed to go off base there and I went downtown to the mall a few times and it was a different world to me. People would just come up to you and say hi and start talking to you which is not something that happens where I'm from so I was suspicious of everyone until eventually it dawned on me that people in the south are just really friendly. The only time I can remember someone doing that back home was when my buddy Mike and I were having a pre-game beer at the Cask n Flagon outside Fenway Park and a couple guys approached us and struck up a conversation...turned out they were gay and were trying to pick us up.
In 1995 some friends and I drove cross country to Las Vegas, traveling right through the south. There, I got my first real taste of how seriously southerners take their college football (recounted here: The Day I Almost Got Lynched in Tennessee ). My near-lynching notwithstanding, I thoroughly enjoyed driving through the south and experiencing a little of the culture. I definitely enjoyed experiencing the food.
In 1996 a couple buddies and I drove down to Florida to catch a few Red Sox spring training games and on the way down we stopped and spent a day in Charleston, SC. I loved the city and the surroundings, it was very charming and surprisingly modern. I am definitely looking forward to exploring it some more.
To be honest, I am really looking forward to living in South Carolina. Everything I've heard about it makes it sound like a good place to live and raise a family and the best part is that I will very, very rarely ever have to worry about snow. I have had a few people tell me that we may face some racism since my wife is Asian and our kids are mixed and it makes me wonder - is this really a problem in the US these days? I know I've been gone a long time but it just blows my mind to hear that there are still people who have a problem with couples of different ethnicities in this day and age. I personally have a hard time believing it and am not very worried about it but I have honestly had multiple people tell me to expect it.
Before even stepping foot in our new home, here's my impression/expectation: it's 2014 and as much as people move around these days, someone from New England living in the south is probably no big deal to anyone. If I was moving to, say, rural Mississippi perhaps I might be worried. But South Carolina? There will be some culture shock to be sure but overall I think it will be an enjoyable adventure for me and the family. Besides, what is life without a little adventure, right?
So...anyone from the south or living in the south have any advice, suggestions or observations for us? If so, feel free to sound off!